Wipeout! Insurance for reality TV
'The Biggest Loser': No fat, hold the humiliation
While contestants on "The Biggest Loser," "Losing It with Jillian" and other weight-loss reality shows work off the pounds, their insurance companies are sweating with the show's producers to keep the content positive, inspirational -- and safe.
The weight-loss format is a risky one, and not just because of the health risks involved.
"The disgrace issue has become a big hot button in the last couple of years," says McNaught. "If an individual commits or is a victim of a disgraceful act, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, they may feel they can no longer complete the show. If something disgraceful happens, the network may feel a responsibility to not air it, and so they lose that money."
Unlike scripted TV, an accident involving a weight-loss contestant would make major headlines, and not the good kind. That's why many insurers steer clear of this format entirely.
"I would expect that those would be very challenging shows to underwrite," says Seaman. "If you think about real life and the challenges of losing a great deal of weight in a short period of time, it can be risky."